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Cross-Study Comparisons

In the United States, nationally representative data on student achievement come primarily from two sources: the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as “The Nation's Report Card”; and U.S. participation in international education assessments, including PIRLS, TIMSS, ICILS, and PISA. While the international assessments may appear to have significant similarities with NAEP, each was designed to serve a specific purpose and each is based on a separate and unique framework and set of assessment items. Thus, each gives a somewhat different view of U.S. student performance.

To help readers understand the similarities and differences between the assessments and to help identify what the international education assessments and NAEP each contribute to the overall knowledge base on U.S. student performance in reading, mathematics, and science, NCES provides detailed information on the purposes, target populations, reporting levels, and content assessed through PIRLS, TIMSS, ICILS, and PISA in comparison to NAEP.

The following comparison reports are available, with the most recent ones listed first:

Comparison report Date
A Comparison Study of NAEP-TEL and ICILS PDF (1,173 KB) July 2020
A Comparison Study of PISA 2012 and NAEP 2013 Mathematics Assessments: AIR-NAEP Working paper #02-2016 PDF (756 KB) May 2016
A Comparison of TIMSS 2011 Items and the NAEP 2011 Framework (2011) PDF (377 KB) October 2013
A Comparison of the 2011 Grade 8 NAEP and TIMSS Mathematics and Science Frameworks PDF (420 KB) August 2013
A Comparison of the PIRLS 2011 and NAEP 2011 Fourth-Grade Reading Assessments (2011) PDF (420 KB) June 2013
Comparison of the PISA 2009 and NAEP 2009 Reading Assessments (2010) PDF (423 KB) December 2010
Comparing TIMSS with NAEP and PISA in Mathematics and Science (2007) PDF (281 KB) December 2008
Comparing PIRLS and PISA with NAEP in Reading, Mathematics, and Science (2007) PDF (231 KB) December 2007
Comparing Mathematics Content in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), and Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2003 Assessments (May 2006) PDF(1630 KB) May 2006
Comparing Science Content in the NAEP 2000 and TIMSS 2003 Assessments PDF(1,678 KB) March 2006
A Content Comparison of the NAEP and PIRLS Fourth-Grade Reading Assessments (April 2003) PDF (852 KB) April 2003
A Comparison of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the Third International Mathematics and Science Study Repeat (TIMSS-R), and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) (June 2001) PDF (1231 KB) June 2001
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